I think I joined Amazon’s affiliate program around the time I released Sleazy Stories, which was in 2009. Over the years, this led to a trickle of money, not a lot but it was enough to pay for the occasional domain renewal or part of a hosting bill. Well, this has now come to a stop.
A few weeks ago Amazon emailed me, asking me to remove certain customer reviews on my blog, claiming that I copied them from the Amazon website. Technically, it is perfectly legal to use text excerpts. In one case, they claimed I “modified” one of the reviews, so I pointed out to them that the text on my website is from an email one of my readers sent me who afterwards posted a review that was based on that email to Amazon. In order to comply with the request from Amazon, I took that review down, as well as all excerpts.
It seems that once you are in the cross-hairs of the leftist censors, there is no getting out. Even though I complied with Amazon’s policies, to my understanding, they shut down my account, and my latter appeal as well. I saw it coming because the wording was always very vague. They never pointed out what the supposed offending content was but instead wrote that, “for example” on this or that page of my blog I violate their operating agreement. I had to basically guess what the problems where.
Here is the message they sent me today, the bold text is not in the original message. Dear Amazon specialists, I replicate this message under the fair-use doctrine, which you are surely as unfamiliar with as with citation standards:
Dear Sir or Madam,
We received your appeal regarding the termination of your Associates account. A specialist has reviewed your account and the decision to terminate your account was found to be correct. As stated previously, under the terms of the Operating Agreement (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement), we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This termination is final and not subject to appeal.
Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding commissions related to your account. Amazon exercises its right under the terms of the Operating Agreement to withhold commissions based on violations, which include the following:
Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any commissions pursuant to our rights under the Operating Agreement. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.
The operative phrase is “with our without cause”, so why even bother to pretend that this was a proper assessment? Note that when Google kicked me off their advertising platform, they likewise told me that because I violated their terms, they are keeping the money I earned. I think it was about $75. Did you know that we live in a world where big corporations make up rules and flaunt them at will? In that regard, my experiences with Google and Amazon were quite valuable, well worth the money they stole from me.
4 thoughts on “Amazon Closed My Affiliate Account”
Yup. I believe they call that a “catch all.”
On a related note, have you noticed that paypal is “always” updating their monetary policies? I’m not sure if this has to do with inflation or just trying to profit, but I get the impression they want to make it difficult for other parties to receive donated money since I frequently donate.
I also get frequent emails from PayPal about their updated terms. Partly, the reason is probably systemic, but surely they also demand more and more rights for themselves for each update. These terms are really long, and the communication is also deliberately obfuscated as PayPal does not highlight all changes or, which would be even better, provide a summary of key changes. Given that they update their terms every few weeks it seems, there is surely a strategic element in this approach because it is completely implausible that an end user is able to read through and analyze those terms.
Speaking of the aforementioned systemic issue: A while ago I listened to lecture series that provides an introduction to German Law, and one of the comments of the professor was that laws tend to get longer and longer, and they need to be modified at a continual basis. In contrast, in the past, lawmakers wrote terse laws that very often stood the test of time. As an example, he referred to some laws that were written in the late 19th century and have been unchanged since then. This seems to imply, in my opinion, that lawmakers are also getting dumber and dumber. The professor was very politically correct and instead spoke of “general societal trends” and that laws are seen as more malleable than in the past as possible explanations, though.